Health Tips for Seniors

By Tracy Byrd, Certified Fitness Coordinator, Coach, Trainer & 2x World Boxing Champion

This month MFM is honoring our Senior Eagles so how fitting to provide information on health & wellness geared specifically for older adults.

There are numerous types of activities that are beneficial for older adults:

Walking. Walking is by far the easiest and freest (natural & financial) activity to do.  After lacing up a good comfortable pair of walking shoes, begin walking 5-10 minutes, intermediate walkers 10-20 minutes and advanced walkers 20-30 minutes.  Based on your level of fitness, you can casually or briskly (power) walk.  Whenever walking keep your arms relaxed and your hands loose (never have a tight/clutched fist, it cuts off blood circulation). Your duration of cardio training should be no more than 30 minutes (depending on the state of fitness of each participant).

Senior sports or fitness classes (to include chair-bound persons).  Joining a fitness class or participating on your own in activities such as: Yoga, Pilates (breathing, strength, flexibility and balance to limber up and improve your range of motion), and Swimming/Water Aerobics, is great for older adults. 

 It is something about water that God has provided to sooth a person naturally as well as physically. Working out in water reduces stress and strain on the body’s joints and daily drinking water half your body weight in ounces (example: 140 pounds, 70 ounces of water per day) flushes out toxins in your body.  

 Talk to your doctor, physical therapist and look on line for healthy eating tips, pool-therapy programs, chair-bound exercise programs and fitness classes generally offered at community centers or senior living facilities.

Strength/Resistance (to include chair-bound persons). Utilizing weights for older adults is as easy as lifting anything that can fit in your hand, like canned foods or purchasing free weights (“dumbbell”) or resistance bands (similar to giant rubber bands designed to give your muscles a good workout when stretched and pulled).  You can attach resistance bands to furniture, doorknobs or a chair.  If you choose to participate in any type of strengthening program, it should be low to moderate intensity and high repetitions (example: lift a 3 pound weight – 10 times – 2 to 3 sets); your duration of strength training should be no more than 30 minutes (depending on the state of fitness of each participant).

These are just a few activities that older adults can begin doing.  With a physician’s consent and proper supervision, older adults can challenge themselves to more strenuous activity which provides greater fitness gain and more preventive benefits.  Once a person reaches the age of 50, the need for fitness is even more needed due to the many physiological changes that occur with age. 

The old adage, “You are never too old to start,” is true!  With a physician’s input and careful considerations, older adults can and have maintained a healthy lifestyle.  So apply a little faith to the fitness and get started – “You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.” (Phil 4:13). 

God bless you.

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